Old-fashioned Rice Ressetto (Risotto?)

Rice Ressetto (Risotto)

I occasionally see recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks where the name of the recipe doesn’t seem quite right – and I think that either the spelling of the name has changed across the years, the recipe author didn’t know how to spell, or that  there was a typo. This is one of the times. The recipe is for Rice Ressetto, but I think that it is really a tomato risotto recipe.

This dish contained rice, tomatoes, and green peppers. It turned out okay, but was much less spicy than similar recipes typically would be today.

Rice Ressetto (Risotto)
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) published by First Baptist Church, Alpena, Michigan

I’m not sure how Spanish sweet pepper differs from green pepper, so I only used green pepper when I made the recipe. The ratio of rice to water is less than typical for cooking rice which means that the rice was still semi-firm when prepared. It was quite dry, and did not need to be drained. This semi-cooked rice then absorbed juice from the tomatoes and softened while baking.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Rice Ressetto (Risotto)

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 cup rice

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pint tomatoes, diced (14.5 ounce can)

1 medium green pepper,  chopped

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put water in a large saucepan; bring to boil. Stir in rice, butter, salt, and pepper, then put cover on pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for five minutes, then turn off heat. Let rice sit for at least 10 minutes. (The rice will still be somewhat firm.) In the meantime put the tomatoes and green pepper in another saucepan. Heat until hot and bubbly, then stir in the rice. Put into a casserole dish and cover. Heat in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and serve.


9 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Rice Ressetto (Risotto?)

  1. I think this is exactly what one of my favorite dishes was as a child. My mom called it “Spanish Rice” and I am quite sure she used Uncle Ben’s and took all of 20 minutes to whip up in her RevereWare and serve in a Melmac bowl. We had no spices or herbs in my childhood, just S&P (& paprika for deviled eggs). The “ressetto” appears to be a charming mishearing of some *exotic* Italian dish that this decidedly non-Italian donated to . . Cement City Cookbook from a First Baptist Church??? Now that explains a lot!

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